The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 57.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

2 professors win Nobel:
Kendall, Friedman confirmed existence of quarks

By Reuven M. Lerner

Physics Professors Jerome I. Friedman and Henry W. Kendall PhD '55 were awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in physics on Wednesday for their research confirming the existence of quarks.

Friedman, 60, and Kendall, 64, are the ninth and 10th Nobel laureates currently affiliated with MIT.

The $700,000 award, which will be shared with Richard E. Taylor of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, was announced by the Swedish Academy of Sciences early Wednesday morning. Kendall answered questions regarding his research at a news conference later that day.

Friedman, who was attending a conference in Fort Worth, TX, was told about the award by his wife. "It was so unbelievable, I literally thought I was still sleeping and that this was part of my dream," he said.

President Charles M. Vest, who took office on Monday, expressed excitement about the award. "Professors Friedman and Kendall brought great distinction both to themselves and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology," he said. "We're very pleased to be able to join today in celebrating their accomplishments, and congratulations to them on behalf of all their MIT colleagues."

"We're ecstatic not just because it honors a great intellectual accomplishment, but because . . . they provide good examples -- that you can be a great scientist and a great humanist at the same time," said Professor Robert J. Birgeneau, head of the physics department.

This was not the first award that Friedman, Kendall, and Taylor have received for their work. Last year, they were given the American Physical Society's W. K. H. Panofsky Prize, worth a total of $5000.

Friedman, a faculty member at MIT since 1960, was head of the Department of Physics between 1983 and June 1988. Last year, he was named William A. Coolidge professor of physics.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has served on numerous advisory committees. In 1980, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from The University of Chicago.

Kendall studied mathematics at Amherst College before coming to MIT. He received his PhD here in 1954. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory and MIT between 1954-1956, after which he served as a research associate, lecturer, and assistant professor of physics at Stanford.

He returned to MIT as a faculty member in 1961. Kendall has been chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge-based group that deals with safety and ethics in science, since 1973.

Experimentally proved

existence of quarks

In the late 1960s, Friedman, Kendall, and Taylor executed a famous series of experiments on the scattering of electrons by protons, deuterons (a proton bound to a neutron), and heavier nuclei. The research for which the prize was awarded was done from the late 1960s through 1973 at the two-mile-long Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California.

This research gave the first clear evidence for a charged, point-like substructure -- quarks -- inside these massive particles. The interpretation of their data gave strong support to the quark model and provided the experimental underpinnings for the development of quantum chromodynamics, the currently favored theory of strong interactions among particles. This "strong force" is one of the four basic forces of nature.

The Nobel Prizes were established under the terms of Alfred Nobel, who is best known for inventing dynamite. They are awarded annually by the Swedish government in the areas of peace, chemistry, literature, physics, and physiology or medicine. There is also a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, which was created by the Central Bank of Sweden in 1968 in Nobel's memory.

Friedman, Kendall, and Taylor will formally receive their awards in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.